You may think of the holiday season as a time filled with joy and happiness. But for many people, especially those with preexisting mental health struggles, the holidays can also be a time of great stress or loneliness. At Healthy365, our goal is to help you maintain your mental and overall wellness all year round, but especially in times of great need. We’re rounding up a few tips for improving your mental wellness during the holidays, no matter what it may bring.
Set boundaries with family
For many of us, the holidays are synonymous with family time. But spending time with family members can also be a big stressor. There is a lot of pressure to be “one big happy family” when you go home for the holidays, but most families have at least some level of drama that crops up when everyone gets together.
You can help maintain your mental wellness by setting boundaries and sticking to them. This may mean avoiding certain controversial conversation topics or checking in with yourself frequently to make sure you are feeling comfortable. And don’t be embarrassed to take a few minutes of alone time for yourself when you need it.
Get out of the house regularly
Especially if you are staying with family, it can be a good practice to get out of the house every day during your holiday break. Having a break in your routine from work or school can feel relaxing for some, but sitting around the house all day may just add to feelings of depression or loneliness. You could go out and get coffee with a friend, run some errands for yourself or your family, or just take a walk around the neighborhood. Getting out in nature is great for mental wellness, and exercise can boost endorphins if you are feeling low.
Practice relaxation and self-care
A holiday break is a great time for some self-care. Take a relaxing bath, do some journaling, or make time for meditation. You could even pamper yourself as you have some time off with a massage or spa appointment. You may be spending more time on social media if you’re bored, but try not to compare yourself to other people’s “highlight reels,” especially if you are having feelings of depression or anxiety this season. If that’s the case for you, self-care might look like a little social media break during the holidays.
Get some good sleep
Speaking of self-care, getting a good night’s sleep can also help you maintain your mental wellness. Try to get 7-8 full hours of sleep, which can reduce stress and keep your immune system up too! Setting good boundaries around your family may also mean sleeping somewhere other than your childhood home if you are in town for a few days. You are more likely to rest easily if you have your own personal space and alone time to unwind after a day full of holiday activities and family time.
Treat yourself but eat well
Eating well can have a big impact on your mental health, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still treat yourself. Try eating a healthy snack before your next big holiday meal, which can help you from overstuffing yourself on processed foods or sweets. And if you are struggling with your mental wellness, the holidays are not the time to overindulge in alcohol, tobacco or drugs — they may actually worsen your stress levels. If you are concerned about your substance misuse or a family member’s, Healthy365 can help explore local treatment options.
When it comes to your wellness journey, Healthy365 is always focused on the health of individuals who live, work, learn, play, and pray in Hancock County. Our Support Navigators would be proud to listen to your story, assess your needs and identify local resources to improve your wellness. Contact us today at 317-468-4231 to learn more.